FINALLY an Ultra Wide!

ultra-wide

I have had quite a journey picking my ultra wide angle lens for Fuji.

I might need a new motorbike?

You can read more about that here: http://www.aevansphoto.com/the-search-for-something-wider/

I was looking at the following lenses:

Fuji:

14mm

16mm

10-24mm

Samyang: 12mm f/2

Zeiss: 12mm 2.8

 

This article talks about what I bought and why I didn’t buy the other ones.

 

What I bought: 

Zeiss Touit 12mm 2.8

I think it’s pronounced “Twit” but what would I know?

zeiss_2030_527_touit_12mm_f_2_8_lens_970839

(I bet some people out there are shocked about now, so am I… but hear me out)

Don’t believe everything you hear online (including this blog?) try this lens out, you might be surprised.

 

Why did I buy this lens?

 

Zeiss Touit 12mm 2.8

The box in the bag.

The box in the bag.

I actually thought I’d never buy this lens.  I just automatically dismissed it based on hearsay and a few reviews online.  I was quite shocked when I actually tried it and really liked it (funny how life works that way sometimes).  The finish seemed really nice and it’s a solid little lens.  It’s not a “Fuji” lens in it’s styling, it doesn’t have distance markers and overall it’s a smooth lens (literally).  Different and it won’t appeal to everyone, but I like it… so I liked the feel, the build… but…  it’s too expensive right? Wrong, you see, not to long ago there was a deal on these lenses where you could get the  Zeiss 12mm 2.8 and the Zeiss 32 1.8 what that, to this day, has done is brought the price down for the 12mm 2.8 quite a bit (in Hong Kong and other places) it used to cost a lot ($999usd), however nowadays it costs more like $699usd and you can get it as little as $665usd.  Sure that’s still a bit pricy, but not nearly as bad as it used to be.

One of my first test shots from the lens.

One of my first test shots from the lens. Straight out of camera.

 

Why not the Samyang?!

I know what you’re gonna say… “why didn’t you get the 12mm Samyang?” Well… I’m going to delete the long paragraph I just wrote and just give it to you in point form (aren’t I nice?!).

The things the Zeiss gave me:

  1. Auto Focus (the Samyang doesn’t have it)
  2. Zeiss Colour/Contrast
  3. IQ (I have a high IQ and I need a good lens… oh wait, I mean “Image Quality”… yeah… it’s very sharp even wide open)
  4. Build quality (The Samyang feels heavy and strong, and it is, but the Zeiss is better and has better tolerances).
  5. You get what you pay for (both are great, the Samyang is a bargain, but the Zeiss is overall better).

There, that’s why I got it… what about price?  For me it’s close enough that I’d prefer to get the Zeiss.  For you maybe not, that’s up to you.

 

AF is handy for from the hip shooting like this.

AF is handy for from the hip shooting like this.  Note the DOF is narrower than you’d think, this girl was less than a metre away.

 

 

Why the 12mm when you have the 16-55?

Where’s a comparison of 12mm vs 16mm.  Enough of a difference to have the 12mm f/2.8 IMHO.

 

 

Why DIDN’T I BUY?

Fuji 10-24 f/4 OIS

Fuji 10-24

At one point the Fuji 10-24mm was a lens I was going to buy for sure.  I even asked in the shop once to buy one (had the money in my wallet) but they were out of stock.  It’s definitely a lens I can see would be useful in some cases, especially hand held videography, however for a few reasons I never was comfortable with this lens.  It lacks WR which is something a landscape lens should have and doesn’t seem as solid as some of the other Fuji lenses (that doesn’t mean it’s poor quality, just didn’t feel as premium as what I’m used to). Additionally, I also have a Tokina 11-16 which I can use on my Canon 1DsIII (it’s not designed for full frame, but it will work fine from 15-16mm).  This lens/camera will do fine for UWA landscape photography, the 1DsIII is my camera of choice for serious landscapes anyway.

I have a Tokina 11-16 that I can use at the 16mm lens on my 1DsIII for very good results.

I have a Tokina 11-16 that I can use at the 16mm lens on my 1DsIII for very good results.

Additionally, while there is a noticeable difference between 10mm and 12mm, I didn’t feel it was enough to warrant me buying a 10-24 just for that difference over the 12mm f/2, especially since I prefer to stitch images where I can, this increases the resolution and I’d rather stitch a couple of 16mm or 12mm shots together than shoot one 10mm shot (most of the time at least) for the other times the 12mm f/2 will do (for single exposure UWA shots). Especially since the Tokina 11-16 on the Full Frame 1DsIII has the possibility of having very similar FOV than the 10-24 shot at 10mm anyway. Also the Tokina is a 2.8 lens (not f/4 like the 10-24).

So the only reason I could really think to have the 10-24 is occasional UWA shots while traveling or video.  Since I shoot most of my serious video on a tripod anyway, I decided to skip this lens for now.

You can see here some shots comparing 12mm to 10mm, to see what I’m missing.

 

 

Fuji 14mm 2.8

Fujifilm_XF_14mm_f_2_8_R_883533

The Fuji 14mm 2.8 is a nice lens, with good optical correction, however the difference between that lens and the 16mm I have on the 16-55 isn’t that much, so I preferred to spend a similar amount and get the Zeiss 12mm 2.8.  Strangely I had a 14mm 2.8 when it first came out (since swapped for something else).

Here’s a comparison of the FOV 14mm and 16mm gives you:

 

 

Fuji 16mm 1.4

fujifilm_xf_16mm_f_1_4_r_1138987

The Fuji 16mm 1.4 is a mighty fine lens for sure. However, I couldn’t at this point justify the cost considering I already have the 16mm focal length covered and the 23mm 1.4 is wide enough for me most of the time when it comes to working with fast lenses.  I might get this lens one day though as its reputation is very good, however for my current usage I really don’t need it.  BUT don’t be surprised if I buy this one day… common I’m human, I can’t keep from the temptation forever.

16-55 shot at 16mm. 16mm gives you a great feeling of "being there", just make sure you get close enough. The lady in this shot was looking up at me as I shot from the hip.

Yeh I know this isn’t the sharpest shot, but I like it anyway. 16mm on the 16-55.

16mm gives you a great feeling of “being there”, just make sure you get close enough. The lady in this shot was looking up at me (trying to give me crabs?) as I shot from the hip (lol she was trying to give me crabs as I shot from the hip… that sound so wrong). She was about a metre away from me.  Nice, but I really prefer 23mm when in these situations as I can get similar shots without getting in people’s faces.

 

 

Samyang 12mm f/2

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I was sure at one point that I would buy the Samyang 12mm f/2.  I could have gotten it quite cheap while I was still in Hong Kong (though actually not that much different to the on sale price in Australia).  However, after I found the Zeiss 12 2.8 wasn’t as expensive as I though, I decided to pay a little more and just get the Zeiss.  I am not disappointed.

 

Summary:

I got the Zeiss 12mm 2.8 because I like the colours (they’re very “zeiss like” and it reminds me of my old Zeiss 85 1.4 in that regard), build quality and autofocus over the Samyang 12mm f/2 (which is a nice lens too).  Don’t believe the negativity about this lens, it’s actually awesome (especially at the current lower prices).

I didn’t get the 10-24 because I already had that covered with the Tokina 11-16 (albeit only shooting at 15-16mm) on my 1DsIII, also mostly I’d rather just stitch a couple of 12mm or 16mm shots together.

I didn’t get the 12mm f/2 Samyang because I got the Zeiss 12mm 2.8 at a price I was happy with.

I didn’t get the 16mm 1.4 because I couldn’t justify the price at the moment and I technically have 16mm covered with the 16-55. Maybe later… probably later…

 

Video that changed my mind about the Zeiss 12mm.

 

My advice is don’t give up on the idea of Zeiss.  I really just dismissed it because of a few reviews online that were negative.  Don’t do that, try it out, it’s actually great.

 

Thanks for reading,

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  • surialism

    Twit? I thought it’s pronounced “twat” ? kkkkkk
    my fav photo is the blurred one. no seriously, it is really good
    thanks for the post I was considering a UWA too

  • azbest

    ninjaaa, i wish to ask you a serious question: does the zeiss have some distoriton in raw that you need to correct? (barrel, chroma aberations)

    • Stealthy Ninja

      Probably dude. I can’t tell because I use lightroom and it auto corrects… Let me check…

      K in Lightroom it says a lens profile has been applied. So it seems to have some sort of distortion that needs correcting, as do many lenses but not so much the 14mm I guess. I don’t have any files from the 14mm to tell.

  • Lee Smith

    The fact your test shots are typical boring street shots of people shows you have no clue how to use an ultra wide lens and what they are for.